LEESBURG — It’s nothing new at Lee County High School, but it’s still a big deal.
The Lee County Trojans are now the top-ranked team in Class AAAAAA for the first time this season. However, for six years in a row now the Trojans have been ranked as the best team in the state at some point during the year, including 2018 when the Trojans went wire to wire as the state’s top-ranked team. The Trojans rose to the top spot after previously top-ranked and defending state champion Buford fell 7-0 to Chaminade-Madonna, a prep school from south Florida.
But the Trojans will have another chance to prove why they are ranked No. 1 Friday when they travel to Warner Robins to face another top-ranked team — the Warner Robins Demons (4-0), who are ranked at the top of the AAAAA classification.
“This is as big as it gets in a regular season game between two nationally ranked teams,” said Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio. “it’s not often that you get to have two teams ranked No. 1 playing each other this late in the season. Usually teams are in region play by now.”
The undefeated 5-0 Trojans will play the undefeated Demons in Warner Robins with a 7:30 kick-off planned Friday evening. Fabrizio is certain Warner Robins wants to get some payback for last year’s loss in Leesburg. In the national poll, High School Football America, Warner Robins is rated at the No. 51 team and Lee County is at No. 60. Buford came in at No. 42 in the same poll.
“I’m sure this game is circled on their calendar,” the coach said. “We were able to take a win from them last year here in Leesburg and it was the only loss they suffered last year. They eventually went on and won the state championship.”
In fact, Warner Robins has been in the state title game for four years in a row and look to be headed for a fifth straight appearance.
“This is a really good football team. They do not have any weaknesses on the field,” Fabrizio said. “They are big up front and they are fast, with two exceptional running backs. We will have to play well all over the field to win this game.”
Warner Robins opened the season with a win over Lee County’s top region rival — 10th-ranked Valdosta. The Demons beat the Wildcats 48-20, then beat Archer (Gwinnett) 50-34. Their last two games have been against two more of Lee County’s region rivals and hometown rivals for Warner Robins. They whipped up on Northside-Warner Robins 49-7 and Houston County 49-9.
“It is nice to have the recognition of being No. 1,” Fabrizio said. “But it really doesn’t mean very much until you get to the end. Our kids like to play in big games like this because it is exciting and we get to make our football team better.”
Two weeks ago the Trojans knocked off AAAAAAA powerhouse Lowndes in Leesburg and the coach has seen his team improve.
“We are getting better each week,” he said. “Chris Martin is our sophomore quarterback who is getting better each week. He has been deadly efficient with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions, but each week he improves. Our defense is picking up the schemes faster and our guys are playing with more and more confidence. That is what a big game like this does. It helps us get better.”
Fabrizio said he believes his team will be ready to play. Several players are seeing limited action during practice this week because of injuries, but he said he thought they would be ready to play on Friday.